How To Write a SWOT Analysis Paper
SWOT analysis is an important aspect of marketing and business plan. It combines internal analysis (strength and weaknesses) and external analysis (opportunities and strengths). An extensive and complete SWOT analysis should provide deep examination of how an organization functions in a competitive business environment. Its results should be able to lead to realistic and effective business decisions and actions. For example, an organization can always maximize its strengths to overcome its weaknesses in the same way that it could exploit opportunities to defend itself against external threats. With this, we can say that a SWOT analysis is basically a list of an organization’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Here’s how to write an extensive SWOT analysis:
A strength is a factor within the company that contributes to overall success of the organization. It could be its brand name that has been present in the industry for a long time (eg. Johnson & Johnson, Ford, Procter & Gamble). It could also be the advanced technologies used by the company in its excellent operations and services (Tesco for its CRM strategies, IBM). In sum, strengths are the positive aspects of the organization that gives it competitive advantage over its peers.
On the other hand, a weakness represents the negative areas of the organization. It could be the lack of sustainable talent pool, high employee turnover, and any other problems in its human resources. It could also be gap in its services or defects in its products that give bad impressions from its major customers. In sum, these factors contribute to a company’s failure and are detrimental in gaining competitive advantage.
Opportunities are external factors that could provide additional strengths for the company or could help it address its weaknesses. For example, a boosting economic condition could provide a company increased sales and profit opportunities. Oftentimes, the success of a company lies on its ability to forecast opportunities and to exploit the most profitable ones.
Lastly, threats are uncontrollable external factors that could negatively affect the company. Threats could be stringent regulations (like increased taxes) that will require increased costs for the company. While threats are uncontrollable, the company should be able to plan ahead in order to mitigate the effects of these threats.
The idea is to gather much information as possible. Look into the publications (annual reports, website, financial status) of the company itself, news about the company, and academic sources. Lastly, since a SWOT analysis describes how an organization functions in a competitive business environment, it is important to compare these factors with the closest competitors or best practices companies in the industry. This provides more depth and practical basis in the analysis.
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